The Giant’s Causeway has been ranked as the UK’s third best tourist destination by respected travel guide Lonely Planet, finishing ahead of attractions such as Hadrian’s Wall and London’s Tate Modern art gallery.
For the first time Lonely Planet has picked its 500 most unmissable experiences and hidden gems across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands to form its ultimate UK travel hitlist.
In total, 20 sights and experiences in Northern Ireland feature in the list which was unveiled today, including the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast, Rathlin Island and Londonderry’s walls.
Out of the score of attractions only one is in Co Armagh (Armagh Robinson Library), while none of the sights in Co Tyrone feature in the Lonely Planet must see list.
Welcoming the news, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The inclusion of 20 Northern Ireland experiences and attractions – including the Giant’s Causeway at number three – in Lonely Planet’s ‘Ultimate UK Travelist’ is good news and will surely help to inspire GB travellers to put Northern Ireland on their holiday wish-list.
“It is another well-deserved accolade for all of these attractions, which provides Tourism Ireland with a great hook to continue to promote Northern Ireland as a ‘must visit’ destination.”
Lonely Planet’s VP of Experience, Tom Hall, said: “Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist brings together the UK’s most compelling sights and experiences, ranging from world-class museums and giant cathedrals to rollicking festivals, inky lochs and tiny pubs.
“We’re thrilled to name the Giant’s Causeway one of the UK’s very best sights - alongside many other wonderful experiences in Northern Ireland including spotting puffins and seals on Rathlin Island and riding a boat through Co Fermanagh’s Marble Arch Caves.”
Giant’s Causeway is described by Lonely Planet as “timeless” and “unrepeatable” and is beaten only by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and London’s British Museum.
The Ultimate UK Travelist is available at a cost of £19.99.
The full list of entries in Northern Ireland by rank:
• 3: Giant’s Causeway
• 57: Titanic Belfast
• 154: Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast
• 164: Dunluce Castle, Co Antrim
• 194: Rathlin Island, Co Antrim
• 201: Belfast Black Taxi Tour
• 210: The Mourne Mountains, Co Down
• 211: Devenish Island, Co Fermanagh
• 291: Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co Antrim
• 365: Ulster Museum, Belfast
• 389: St George’s Market, Belfast
• 400: The Gobbins, Co Antrim
• 405: Londonderry’s city walls
• 456: Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast
• 476: Armagh Robinson Library
• 480: St Patrick’s Way in Downpatrick
• 485: Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Co Londonderry
• 489: Marble Arch Caves, Co Fermanagh
• 493: Enniskillen Castle, Co Fermanagh
• 497: Downhill Demesne, Co Londonderry